This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

Dragonfly drones take to the air for the first time

10 July 2017

The drone programme that uses live dragonflies to fly by fitting them with small backpacks has achieved lift off, pushing the boundaries of hybrid drones.

DragonflEye in testing at Janelia Research Campus (Credit: Draper)

Engineers at Draper created a new kind of hybrid drone by combining miniaturised navigation, synthetic biology and neurotechnology to guide dragonflies. The dragonfly wears a tiny backpack fitted with electronics, sensors and a solar cell. A light source charges the solar cell, which powers the backpack.

Potential applications of the technologies underpinning DragonflEye include guided pollination, payload delivery, reconnaissance and even precision medicine and diagnostics. 

DragonflEye has been a team effort between Draper and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at Janelia Farm to create new optogenetic tools that send guidance commands from the backpack to special “steering” neurons inside the dragonfly nerve cord.

Watch the video to see behind the scenes footage of the dragonfly take to the sky!

Material courtesy of Draper 

Print this page | E-mail this page

Coda Systems